Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Butt is a National Security Issue

Okay, that's the funny.  Now for the serious, as you know, childhood obesity is growing.  This article highlights an interesting twist on this problem. 

In capsule form:  The U.S. government has noted that this epidemic could some day effect national security because over 40% of 18-24 year olds (the age they concentrate on recruiting) are overweight.  In fact, in that group most have more than 30 pounds to lose.

Now, I will be the first to tell you that the scale, in the end, isn't the all out answer to how healthy you are.  But the military has already raised its weight limit in response to needs for more recruits and the expanding American waist line.  If they increase allowances again, it could become unsafe for soldiers and expensive for the military.  We all know being overweight has a way of increasing doctor visits, injuries and health care premiums.  (Which is why insurance companies should cover fitness programs, but that is for another time.)

The reason I find the article in the Des Moines Register interesting is because the government seems to be noticing the far reaching implications of bad school and childhood nutrition.  This isn't new, schools have been cutting corners for years with the food they feed kids, you can get cheaper food (read: not highly nutritious), but it's hard to get cheaper text books. 

The only concern I have is that everyone seems a bit too focused on junk food in machines.  I totally agree that it's a problem and they never should have put snack cakes and soda into schools to begin with.  But it's the school sanctioned meals that alarm me even more.  When you break down what is supposed to be in them and how they end up making that inexpensive and palatable to children is almost tragic.  For example - we are teaching children that pizza is 'a dairy' and 'a bread'.  That kind of justification led me down the road to where I now write this blog!

I am hoping that my friend and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, will help turn things around.  In fact, I think I should send him a link to Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" - I have only been able to watch two episodes because it just makes me ill.  To think what we have done to ourselves and in turn our children.  Even the ones who are not overeating are not being taught good food choices. 

Another example, in the mind of the government, there is no difference between chocolate milk and white milk, the kids are allowed to choose.  What six-year-old is going to pass up chocolate milk?!!!  Yea, they are drinking milk - good.  But they are also chugging down additional sugars - not good.  It also ruins their palate for the future, slowly creating sugar addicts like myself.

Oh boy, I have spiraled.  Sorry.  Obviously I feel incredibly passionate. 

As for my own education and journey, today it was physical therapy at 6:30 a.m.  Despite a headache I worked away in the pool.  I really do love water therapy.  I was telling Personal Trainer Gwyn at this afternoon's training session that I feel like I am coming along the fastest I ever had with this therapy.  I would ask where this was before, but they are the only ones with an underwater treadmill in Des Moines and they just opened a year ago - so it was on the drawing board. :)

Well, yes, I am just walking out of work.  So, I am going home to eat a small snack and go to bed.  Good night.

Yours in Health,

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